Better places

We’re caught up on TV shows so we tried three new shows last night. I find it odd I’ve got a TV-related project coming soon but I’m using Summing Up for this post. So hopefully I’ll at least get to some tangents.

We did the first episodes for “Manifest,” “Russian Doll,” and “The Passage.” We then watched the rest of “The Passage” so far. It’s shocking it’s on Fox and “Manifest” is the NBC show. Sure, “Passage” is the show where I found out Zack Morris from “Saved by the Bell” does a fine Kevin Costner role, but it’s got a really strong cast—and Mark-Paul Gosselaar is perfectly fine. He never grandstands, making the show more of an ensemble, which isn’t how the narrative is set up. It’s a novel adaptation and they’re doing it like a bunch mini-series episodes to adapt it, skipping around the cast of characters. It’s engaging as hell, thanks to twelve year-old co-lead Saniyya Sidney. She’s John Connor if he were a Black girl and fighting vampires instead of Terminators. “Passage,” the show (not sure about the books), is a genre mishmash. Little thriller, little science, little horror. It’s a cheaper “Game of Thrones” mixed genre thing.

“Russian Doll” is good. Funny. First episode didn’t slice new bread though. I feel like anything with a repeated day needs to be marathoned through and shouldn’t get broken up into episodes. I guess I’m also curious how they’ll differentiate the episodes given the nature of the show. Character is repeating the same night over and over again.

“Manifest” is just a bunch of bad acting and extremely trite writing. Bob Zemeckis executive produced it (but didn’t direct the pilot because he’s not desperate or actually interested), which fits—at least in tone. They desperately want to talk about being good Christians but they don’t. They just imply it, then ignore when the show’s gimmick—a plain-full of people travel five years into the future and now get messages in their heads to save the world—contracts, you know, Christianity. If you’re going to do a Christian show, do it. Don’t be half-assed. Just be good, which “Manifest” isn’t. Fifteen years ago NBC would never have brought this thing to air.

And Fox never would’ve had “The Passage,” which is like a not-misanthropic or condescending “Westworld.” “Manifest” is “Lost” on a budget.

I wonder if maybe I should find a better place for TV writing….

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